Finding it hard to narrow down the options? Here are our top five picks for families wanting to holiday short-haul this year.
Spain is a great option, specifically Catalonia, which is a brand-new destination for i-escape this year. It’s an easy flight from the UK (fly to Girona or Barcelona, then hire a car) and our selection of colourful, fun and vibrant hotels includes pads which are close to the beach and others with kids’ activities (our reviewer’s personal favourite is Casa Migdia). Perfect for a memorable holiday.
France is another easy pick for us, and a favourite haunt for British holidaymakers. We’d recommend booking a villa such as The Gascony Farmhouse, near Toulouse, which the owners have set up perfectly for holidaying families. The pool is lovely and it still has some availability this summer, which we can’t believe! Great if you want to holiday with your friends and their kids too – it sleeps 4-6 adults plus children.
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to family-friendly properties in Greece, but a particular highlight is Onar, a cottage retreat on one of our favourite islands, Andros. Walk down a woodland valley to the sea and eat a communal lunch under plane trees in the evening. It’s simple and well set up for family adventures.
One of the cheapest European countries and an easy flight from the UK, Portugal was our best-selling destination last year, and families go mad for Villas Martinhal. These chic resort-based villas for 2-8 have self-catering kitchens and baby equipment to borrow, with family-friendly restaurants and a wide sandy beach on your doorstep; what’s not to love? Better still, the resort offers the biggest range of children’s activities we’ve ever seen: football and tennis academies, watersports and mountain biking, a fully-staffed creche, a club for kids of all ages, a games room, even cartoon showings in the ‘village square’.
If you’ve been to Cornwall and Devon and want something a little more exotic, we’d highly recommend Flying Boat Club on the Scilly Isles. With miles of white sands as well as boat trips and pushchair-friendly walks on your doorstep, it’s an idyllic place to spend a week in the UK. Two of the i-escape directors loved it so much that they’ve bought a regular holiday spot on the island.
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